How much water and raw materials does the production of a smartphone actually use? The refurbished platform Back Market addressed this and many other questions in its first Impact Report. The background.

The refurbished platform Back Market has presented its first impact report. Among other things, the company reports on the impact of its own sales of used and refurbished electronic devices on people, industry and the environment.

How much water does the production of a smartphone use?

Back Market claims that it has helped avoid more than 1.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by selling refurbished devices. The report's key environmental findings:

  • The production of a smartphone consumes 267 kilograms of raw materials and requires 89,000 litres of fresh water.
  • For the Manufacturing a laptop are about 191,400 litres of fresh water needed.
  • Only 17.4 percent of the electronic waste generated during the manufacture and disposal of devices is collected and recycled.
  • The digital industry is expected to account for a share of 14 percent of global CO2 emissions – more than the aviation industry.
  • According to Back Market, a refurbished smartphone uses 91 percent fewer raw materials, 86 percent less water, produces 89 percent less electronic waste and emits 92 percent fewer greenhouse gases.

CO2 emissions in the digital industry

In addition to the ecological footprint, Back Market's report also looks at the people in its own company and in the technology and refurbishment industry. Company boss Thibaud Hug de Larauze says:

At Back Market, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. This report is not just about the CO2 emissions we avoid, but also about fostering a culture that cares about both people and the planet.

According to Back Market, the market share of used and refurbished devices doubled between 2019 and 2024. In times of rising living costs, 35 percent of Europeans intend to buy a new smartphone in the coming year. 52 percent of them are considering refurbished devices.

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